Situated at the foothills of Darjeeling Himalayas, in the Dooars region of West Bengal, Gorumara National Park is a natural splendor worth exploring. Endowed with thick forests and grasslands; this piece of scenic wonder is the home to a plethora of flora and exciting wildlife, especially Indian rhinoceros. Located by River Murti and Raidak, Gorumara National Park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1949 and national park in 1992 and honored as best among the protected areas of India by Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2009.
If you are a wildlife lover and have not explored this sprawling reserve yet, wait no more. Plan a thrilling trip to Gorumara National Park to enjoy a fulfilling wildlife experience.
A little about Gorumara National Park
i. Location and geography
On the floodplains of Murti and Raidak rivers, Gorumara National Park is set at the foothills of Eastern Himalaya in the Malbazar Subdivision of Jalpaiguri, north Bengal. This region is popularly known as Dooars. This is a more or less plain land with slightly undulating terrains in between. Predominated by moist deciduous forests and riverine grasslands, this national park is the home to almost 50 species of mammals, 50 species of reptiles and amphibians and almost 300 species of birds. Pretty cool, huh!
ii. Climate, the best time to visit and other things to know about Gorumara National Park
Gorumara National Park experiences tropical climate throughout the year, with temperature ranging from 23 degrees in summer to 10 degrees in winter. June to September mark the rainy season here and the place receives moderate to heavy rainfall during that season. Humidity increases during monsoon.
Gorumara National Park is open from October to June every year. The national park remains closed from June 15 to September 15, owing to monsoon and animal breeding season. The best time to visit Gorumara National Park is from November to March. The surrounding looks luxuriant and fresh and the chances of spotting wildlife increases manifold during winter.
iii. Entrance charges and timings for Gorumara National Park
Visiting time/hours of Gorumara National Park: Gorumara National Park is open on all days, from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm except Thursdays. There are 4 shifts for safari and watchtower visits. The timings are 6:30 am to 8:00 am, 9:00 am to 10:30 am, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm and 3: 30 pm to 5:00 pm.
Entrance charges at Gorumara National Park: The jeep safari costs INR 2200 that can accommodate up to 6 tourists. Gorumara National Park has three watchtowers: Jatraprashad, Chapramari, and Medla. The entry tickets for Jatraprashad watchtower for the first three shifts is INR 120 and for the 4th shift is INR 160. For Chapramari watchtower, entrance ticket for the first three shifts is INR 70 and INR 120 for the 4th shift. However, for Medla watchtower, the tickets for all the 4 shifts is INR 120.
iv. How to reach Gorumara National Park
By air: The nearest airport to Gorumara National Park is 80 km away at Bagdogra. There are regular flights from Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Hire a private taxi and it will take approximately 2 hours from airport to reach the national park.
By rail: The closest railway station is at New Maynaguri, 20 km away. It is well connected with Kolkata and other major cities of East and North-eastern part of India.
By road: Gorumara National Park is 72 km from Siliguri via Canal Road and takes about 2 hours to reach. From Jalpaiguri, the place is 32 km via NH717 and one can reach within an hour. Roads are in good condition and one can easily drive down from these places.
v. Flora and Fauna of Gorumara National Park
Flora: Gorumara National Park is characterized by tropical deciduous forests. The most commonly seen tree is Sal. Other varieties seen here are Simul, Teak, Siris, and Khair etc. Along with these, one can also spot bamboo groves and riverine grasslands.
Fauna: Gorumara National Park is known to be the habitat of Indian rhinoceros. Asian elephant, barking deer, sloth bear, wild boar, hog deer, leopard and Indian wolves are also spotted occasionally. The national park is the home to a few species of poisonous snakes as well, like Paithon and King Cobra.
Almost 300 plus species of birds are spotted at Gorumara National Park. Most common ones include Asian paradise flycatchers, scarlet minivet, Indian hornbill, woodpeckers, peafowls, pheasants and endangered brahminy duck.
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Things to do in and around Gorumara National Park
i. Jungle safari
For every wildlife enthusiast, jungle safari in Gorumara National Park is a must activity. The beauty of the undulating terrain, lush green forests and sprawling grasslands fascinate ever tourist while the joy of spotting a wildlife amplifies the fascination manifold. You may be lucky enough to see elephants bathing in Murti River, flowing through the national park. There are two kinds of safaris, available for tourists: jeep safari and elephant safari. Book tickets from the registered office of Forest Department and it is mandatory to take an authorized guide with you. After the safari, tourists are taken to watchtower for an enhanced wildlife experience.
ii. Bird watching
Carry your binoculars as a plethora of birds are spotted at Gorumara National Park. From common ones like Indian hornbill, paradise flycatcher to endangered ones like brahminy duck, one can spot everything here.
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There are many fascinating tourist places around Gorumara National Park. You can plan a half-day sightseeing to visit Buxa Fort, Rovers Point, Samsing, Bindu, Murti Riverbank and Jayanti Mahakal caves. In fact, there are a couple of more wildlife sanctuaries near Gorumara. They are Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary and Buxa Tiger Reserve.
iv. Lataguri Nature Interpretation Centre
Located next to the national park is Lataguri Nature Interpretation Centre. Visit this place to witness the vibrant sight of flora and fauna of Gorumara, showcased with light and sound.
v. Tribal dance and campfire
One can trek up to surrounding local villages like Budhuram Forest Village and enjoy tribal dance around a campfire in the evening.
Places to stay in and around Gorumara National Park
If you are thinking where to stay in and around Gorumara National Park, the options are plenty. You can book at Aranya Jungle Resort, Kontiki Resort, and Lake view resort. These 3 places are in Lataguri, approximately 5 km from Gorumara National Park. One can also check out Sinclairs Retreat, Dooars in Chalsa, 13 km from the forest. But if you wish to stay closer to the national park, book yourself a stay at Tuskers Den Forest, located just opposite Gorumara. There are forest department accommodations inside the forest at Gorumara Eco Village Kalipur, Gorumara Elephant Camp Dhupjhora and Gorumara Rhino Camp Ramsai.
A scenic splendor, Gorumara National Park is a thrilling place to explore with friends and families. With picturesque terrain and myriad of wildlife, this is a paradise for nature lovers, wildlife freaks, and photography enthusiasts.